I found the lack of information given by this article, as well as the clear finger pointing in the direction of the Natives of Attawapiskat and the other near north communities utterly insulting. Having lived and taught up north and on a Reserve for two years, and having helped in the rescue of a number of northern dogs, including my own, I understand that what is being done to these dogs seems inhumane and utterly barbaric. But what this story did NOT say is that there are no veterinary services in the north. Finger pointing is all well and good when we live in an area with luxuries such as medical care for our pets - including spay/neuter clinics, but those luxuries do not exist on the Reserves.
|Part of the "pack" that we cared for: of the four, we managed to save three|
The people helping the dogs ought to be proud of themselves for helping to get the dogs out, but they should not judge and neither should the rest of the urban world. What many don't realize is that the dogs of the North grow up half wild. They don't know human companionship the way city dogs do. They don’t receive the care our dogs do – there are no pet stores up north, no grooming salons and no animal services. Without "population control" most of these dogs end up forming packs that then claim bits of territory throughout the reserve. This is dangerous for both the dogs and the humans. Some of the more feral packs may go after children – others will go after owed/claimed dogs and kill them. The shootings done by the Natives of the reserves is the most humane way the people of the north know how to control these problems. Most of the dogs born on the reserves will starve or freeze to death before the age of two. They also become prey to the wolves and bears of the area.
These shootings are not sport. Warnings are given throughout the community before a shooting happens and all dogs that have been claimed by humans are brought inside or tethered to their dog houses/kennels. More often than not, any dog seen wearing a collar or a bit of cloth around its neck is also left alone.
Stating that these dogs were saved from being shot without explaining WHY they were being killed is an incredible injustice to the people of the North. Just as it is beyond unfair to give credit to only one small group of people who do not even venture into the communities, and instead wait for the dogs to be brought to them, when there are others out there who are spending thousands of their own resources to actually go to these communities armed with vaccines and vet technicians to tend to the dogs that survive.
It’s hard to understand what life is like on a Reserve without experiencing it – this is something I have learned intimately, but if we want to help the dogs of the North, then we need to lend our support to groups like the Friends of Animush – who not only fly out to all of these communities, but also collect ad bring back any unclaimed dog they can save.
Keep your tails wagging